When temps spike in Big Bend National Park, head for heavily forested Boot Canyon—a cool getaway in a birder's paradise.
From the trailhead, ascend the Pinnacles Trail to Toll Mountain Pass, a notch in the Chisos Mountains at 7,000 feet with sweeping views of the stark, arid landscape. Take it in, then descend into the lush expanse of Boot Canyon. Set up camp among the huge Arizona cypress trees, and take your time exploring the many watering holes that attract hawks, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. You may also see the Colima warbler, found only in the Chisos from spring to early fall, and it's hard to miss the canyon's namesake—a distinctive rock pinnacle towering above the trees that looks a lot like an upside-down boot. When you must leave, take the Colima Trail to Laguna Meadow and hike down the range's west side for a 10.5-mile loop.
Info: (432) 477-2251; nps.gov/bibe
-Hike provided by David Elkowitz, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, Big Bend National Park
Location: 29.327676, -103.2047939
Entrance to Big Bend National Park